Ever felt your mouth water just by looking at a slab of juicy and tender ribs? Did you know that you can achieve restaurant-level smoked meats with a good BBQ smoker, plus so much more? That's why we did the research for you and searched high and low to come up with 10 of the best BBQ smokers on the market.
Camp Chef's SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill takes the top place for its versatility and convenient maintenance. There are nine other smokers on our top 10 list for you to consider, plus a buying to get you acquainted with this must-have equipment, so read on until the end to get the most bang for your buck!
Our top 10 list consists of some of the best smokers on the market. We've included a variety of styles with varying capacities to suit your smoking needs.
|Dimensions||45 x 21 x 51 in.|
|Total cooking area||573 sq. in.|
|Dimensions||31.4 x 14.75 x 14.75 in.|
|Total cooking area||286 sq. in.|
|Temperature range||Aprox. 190°F|
|Dimensions||22.8 x 28.7 x 53 in.|
|Total cooking area||960 sq. in.|
|Dimensions||46.5 x 28 x 48 in.|
|Total cooking area||245 sq. in.|
|Dimensions||45.5 x 24.9 x 58.8 in.|
|Total cooking area||1,382 sq. in.|
|Temperature range||Depends on charcoal and air vent setting|
|Dimensions||12.38 x 18.25 x 27.12 in.|
|Total cooking area||Not specified|
|Temperature range||165°F heating element|
|Dimensions||21 x 43.3 x 50.2 in.|
|Total cooking area||1,890 sq. in.|
|Temperature range||Depends on charcoal and air vent setting|
|Dimensions||20 x 21 x 13 in.|
|Total cooking area||184 sq. in.|
|Temperature range||450°F max|
|Dimensions||22 x 17 x 35 in.|
|Total cooking area||453 sq. in.|
|Temperature range||Depends on charcoal and air vent setting|
|Dimensions||20 x 20 x 46 in.|
|Total cooking area||784.8 sq. in.|
|Temperature range||Not specified|
SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill
14-Inch Smokey Mountain Cooker
Classic I Charcoal Grill
Signature Series Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill
Big Chief Electric Smoker
Wide Body Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker
Grills Ranger Grill
Vertical 17 Inch Steel Charcoal Smoker
Vertical 36" Propane Smoker
A Versatile and Well-Built Pellet Smoker
A Charcoal Smoker for Beginners
Propane Smoker With Full Thermostat Control
Specialized Design for Optimal Heat Retention
High-Capacity Offset Smoker for Great Ribs
Cook Meat and Fish Low and Slow
Smoke a Lot of Meat at Once
A Portable Smoker for a Variety of Food
Get the Most Out of Charcoal Smoking
A Tight Seal and Great Temperature Control
|Dimensions||45 x 21 x 51 in.||31.4 x 14.75 x 14.75 in.||22.8 x 28.7 x 53 in.||46.5 x 28 x 48 in.||45.5 x 24.9 x 58.8 in.||12.38 x 18.25 x 27.12 in.||21 x 43.3 x 50.2 in.||20 x 21 x 13 in.||22 x 17 x 35 in.||20 x 20 x 46 in.|
|Total cooking area||573 sq. in.||286 sq. in.||960 sq. in.||245 sq. in.||1,382 sq. in.||Not specified||1,890 sq. in.||184 sq. in.||453 sq. in.||784.8 sq. in.|
|Weight||127 lbs.||24 lbs.||92 lbs.||188 lbs.||124.3 lbs.||17.57 lbs.||83 lbs.||60 lbs.||18.55 lbs.||40 lbs.|
|Temperature range||160°F-500°F||Aprox. 190°F||175°F-325°F||225°F-750°F||Depends on charcoal and air vent setting||165°F heating element||Depends on charcoal and air vent setting||450°F max||Depends on charcoal and air vent setting||Not specified|
If you're new to smoking, choosing the right device might be a daunting task. The buying guide below will expound on barbeque smokers so you, too, can start making delicious meat!
There are seven main types of smokers to get acquainted with, each with specific advantages and considerations to remember.
Electric smokers use electricity to set the right temperature for meats. So, you won't have to constantly check on your food or worry about burning wood or charcoal. This also means less cleanup!
Electric smokers are often built vertically in a cabinet-style setting, with a heating element and your wood chips for smoke at the bottom. There's also a water pan for temperature regulation in between.
You don’t need an additional fuel source with an electric smoker and technically won't even run out of fuel, so you won't have to worry about replacing fuel.
On the downside, avid grillers often note that the flavor produced by an electric machine is quite different due to the lack of actual combustion. While an electric smoker works great at smoking more delicate meat like sausages or fish, cheese, and vegetables, you can't easily get a crisp char on chicken or ribs.
Charcoal smokers are the traditional choice, and they give you that distinct BBQ taste by smoking food at a consistent temperature for hours. They come in various shapes and sizes.
This type of smoker uses standard charcoal or briquettes, and you can add some wood chips for a smokey flavor. Charcoal smokers have a water pan for temperature control on top of the other compartments typical to a smoker.
The main thing to consider with a charcoal smoker is its labor-intensive operation; it requires more set up, monitoring, and cleaning. We recommend this type of smoker if you want a deep, authentic smoky flavor and don’t mind the complex process.
Gas smokers, as the name suggests, use gas or propane as fuel. They are often built vertically in a cabinet-style with shelves and a pull-out door. The gas travels from the bottom up, passing through each level to cook. You can also add wood chips to this smoker for flavor.
Gas smokers give you more control because you can manipulate how much combustion happens with the temperature settings. They’re also very easy to ignite, letting you start cooking quickly.
If you dislike the taste of bacon, you might need to choose a different smoker type because this device has a reputation for adding a bacon taste to everything. Since smoking can take hours, you will also need spare gas or propane bottles just in case.
We've covered the three main types of smokers based on fuel. Now, let's take a look at more versatile smokers in terms of capacity and function.
If you combine a conventional oven with a griller, you get a pellet smoker. These utilize combustion for that smokey flavor, but they operate with the convenience of electricity. You can use pellet smokers as an oven, grill, and smoker.
These smokers use compressed sawdust pellets that sit in a hopper on the side, and they are fed into a firebox by an auger drill. The firebox is heated with electricity, causing the pellets to combust, giving you smoke and heat.
With pellet smokers, you get a combination of smoky flavors from the wood pellets and the convenience of electrical heating. The sawdust also combusts to almost nothing, so you don't have much to clean.
The downside is that wood pellets aren't as readily available as charcoal. Unless you can make wood pellets yourself, you will need to stock up.
Do you usually smoke small amounts of food and don’t have much room to spare? A kettle grill is a live-fire cooking apparatus that is cheaper, readily available, and can grill and smoke your food well. It’s great for beginners, too!
All you need to do is arrange the charcoal, add some wood chips and a water pan, and you can start smoking. However, it can be tricky to have accurate airflow control when smoking with a kettle grill. It may take some trial and error, but the results are still worthwhile!
Offset smokers are barrel-shaped and were initially created from unused oil-drums. They’re big and bulky, so you may have to make a lot of room for this device. This smoker has a firebox that’s offset to the side and below the main cooking chamber. It also has a chimney for air control.
The big barrel of an offset smoker means you can cook large quantities of food easily. Some even have an extra grill plate that can attach to the firebox if you need to grill.
On the downside, it’s tedious to set up an offset smoker. We also recommend only choosing a high-end model because cheap ones often have poor heat retention and leaking problems.
A Kamado grill is one of the oldest types of smokers. They're large and shaped like eggs, mimicking ancient clay ovens' thickness and design for heat and moisture retention.
These are great for keeping your food juicy and moist due to the decreased airflow. They also function as ovens, grills, or even brick ovens for pizzas. Their thick ceramic walls also mean that cold weather doesn't affect your food because the temperature inside remains consistent.
However, it can be challenging to master temperature control with this type of smoker. It's also challenging to add more fuel or collect the accumulated ash due to the location of the charcoal.
When it comes to smokers, heat insulation is critical to cook your meats thoroughly. A leaky smoker will still cook food, but they'll give you unpredictable results. So, go for smokers with thick walls, whether they're steel or ceramic, to properly absorb and distribute heat within the chamber.
To keep a consistent temperature, make sure that the doors and any other compartments that open have a tight seal when closed. Head to the reviews to confirm if heat is kept inside the chamber, leading to efficient temperature stabilization and excellent smoke flavor.
Meats cook at different temperatures, such as 325 degrees for turkey or 500 degrees for steak, for example. Check the temperature range of the smoker so you can cook a wide variety of food.
Suppose the smoker comes with a built-in thermometer. In that case, we recommend double-checking for accuracy because manufacturers can sometimes skimp on the quality, giving you temperatures off by as much as 50 degrees.
The thermometer should also be placed on the grate area where the food will go (for accuracy) and not on the lid because these two locations can show varying temperatures. If the thermometer is located on the cover, we recommend one with a probe extending closer to where you want temperature monitoring.
The capacity and accessibility of your smoker are important considerations that would affect your overall experience with the device. These would depend on how much food you plan to smoke and where the smoker would be placed.
A smoker can be bulky and take up space, so it's important to check its dimensions. A smoker requires good ventilation and airflow to operate safely, too. It requires plenty of space around it, as much as five to 12 feet, so nothing gets accidentally set on fire.
When you’ve got a spot for your smoker, check if you can easily add water, woodchips, or fuel. Bullet-shaped smokers with cabinets might be tricky to maneuver around. You should also have quick access to check on the food and the temperature.
With this in mind, top-loading bullet-style smokers can be more challenging to access compared to front-loading or cabinet-style smokers, especially if you’re cooking more than one slab of ribs.
The smoker should also be wide enough for your cooking needs. If you’re planning to cook for one or two, then a smaller-sized bullet-style smoker or a kettle smoker will suffice.
However, for parties and larger groups, you will need more capacity. The grate should also be tall enough for large meats, like turkey, and wide enough for slabs of ribs up to 16 inches long. Cutting ribs to fit smaller grates will still taste great, but they will need more monitoring since their edges can get overcooked faster.
To ensure that your smoker is efficient, convenient, and fun to use, look for added accessories. For example, you can find smokers with attached work surfaces or storage shelves for convenience.
Some are equipped with tool hooks or come with a weatherproof cover for when it's not in use. Also, check if they give you extra grates or racks for grilling or smoking in a multi-level smoker. For efficient cleanup, look for a removable grease door or an ash drawer. And, adjustable shelves give you better access the smoker's interior.
Extra features to make your smoker safer include locking wheels and covered electrical parts. These are especially important if you'll be storing your smoker indoors or have kids or pets around. Coiled stainless steel handles are also safer since they're more durable than wood and disperse heat quickly, leaving them cool to the touch.
Ready to become a grill master? We have some suggestions for excellent grilling essentials below!
A smoker will change the way you cook your meat and give you crowd-pleasing results. A smoker is definitely a must-have for anyone who loves barbeque!
Just make sure to decide on the style of smoker. It's helpful to think about what type of fuel you'd like to use and how much food you typically cook. Have a good barbeque!
Author: Hana Otsuka
Home electronics, PC, camera
Cosmetics and skincare
Food and drinks
Kids and baby
Interior and furniture
DIY and tools
Sports and fitness
Books, CDs, DVDs
Cars and motorcycles
Housing equipment and renovation
Smartphones and mobile phones
Investment and asset management
Credit cards and loans